1924 Rybnitsa, Moldavian ASSR
Interviewed In: Toronto, Ontario
Infantry, Worked In Munitions Plant, Training
As the Germans crossed the border, Israel was moved to Tashkent, far from the front line. “In Tashkent, I got a job as a turner apprentice at a munitions factory. I worked as a turner during the war, making 82 mm mortars. I accomplished a level of a 5-class turner. I would have worked longer as a turner, if not for the army draft.”
Israel was 18 when he was drafted into the reserve infantry; 2 years after the war had started. He was trained as a junior officer, and gave march training to many draftees before they were sent to the front. Over all he was involved in training 8 march units. “The training time depended on where the soldier had been drafted, it varied from 2 weeks to 3 months training soldiers. We trained them in shooting at the shooting ground.”
Israel saw combat after the Battle of Warsaw. “The Germans were retreating. We dominated. After that, we were involved in the assault on Berlin. After the Battle of Warsaw, there was hardly any resistance. We approached the river Vistula, and, after staying there for a while, proceeded to attack. The Second Front was opened. We went on. We passed through Berlin from East to West to take part in the liberation of Berlin. The city lied in ruins. Not as much as Warsaw, Warsaw was destroyed more badly. However, the city of Berlin was very much in ruins.”
After the war ended, Israel served in Berlin. “I was assigned to serve in the ceremonial battalion. I was called to the ceremonial battalion due to my height, my medals, everything. We were to meet all the military leaders. We were to meet them in Tempelhof, to accompany to Karlshof, where the Occupation Group HQ were located and where the treaty was signed on May 8. I served, as a ceremonial officer, in the ceremonial battalion for almost a year. I served the rest of my term on the Baltic Sea islands, near Germany”
Once he was demobilized, Israel returned to school and graduated as an engineer.